Have you ever noticed how many times in the Book of Psalms the words lovingkindness and truth appear together?
For Your lovingkindness is great to the heavens and Your truth to the clouds (Psalm 57:101).
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great congregation (Psalm 40:10).
Lovingkindness and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other (Psalm 85:10).
But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth (Psalm 86:15).
When I looked into the Hebrew I found these words: chesed and emeth. Chesed is translated “lovingingkindness,” but it means more than a general kindness. It is only used in the context of two parties in a covenant relationship.2 It describes God’s compassionate commitment toward us regardless of our merit or our faithfulness toward Him. Chesed appears in the New Testament as charis, grace.
Emeth is the Hebrew word translated “truth,” but also in many places “faithfulness.” Narnia readers may find this word familiar because in The Last Battle Lewis gives the name Emeth to the Calormene who worshipped the true God faithfully, albeit unknowingly. Emeth is the other side of the coin of chesed, the truth that saves love from mere sentimentality, just as love saves truth from brutal power. We have all been told to “speak the truth in love” which both reminds us to be gracious as we speak a correcting word, but also to speak truth to one another. Because I love my child I will tell him when he is making errors in his math. I will tell you when you have spinach caught in your teeth. These two qualities of God are enfleshed in Christ:
For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truthwere realized through Jesus Christ (John 1:17).
In Psalm 92 I find a pattern for dispelling that chronic sense of not doing well enough:
It is good to give thanks to the Lord
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning
And Your faithfulness by night (Psalm 92:1,2).
For a couple of months now, when I rise I deliberately preach to my soul the lovingkindness of God. After a night’s sleep it seems I have to fight the battle to believe God all over again. C. S. Lewis says he wakes every morning to a new battle to submit his will for “it grows all over me like a new shell each night.”3 During my morning quiet time I remember His mercies are new every morning. He says He has plans, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). He desires our success to bring glory to His name. “He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’ssake” (Psalm 23:3). Preach it!
At night I review the day and discover God’s faithfulness. If I did something right, He was faithful. When He gave me a wise answer for a child, He was faithful. Everything I accomplished during this day was done because He was faithful. This has made a big difference to me. Instead of cringing because of all I do poorly or leave undone, I am able to fall asleep in peace because of all He does well. In Him I live and move and have my being, so if I had the strength to check something off my To Do list, it was His doing. I fed the pets. I paid the bills. I helped my son prepare for debate. God is good!
This tiny habit will anchor your day at both ends. Declare to your soul God’s lovingkindness in the morning and marvel at night at everything God’s faithfulness accomplished through you.
For an encouraging series of talks, listen to Andrew Kern’s three-part series, “Teaching from a State of Rest.” http://www.circeinstitute.org/video I highly recommend these. Andrew explains from Genesis 1 the pattern which could be applied to any creative endeavor. Even God ends each day of Creation by reviewing what He has done and calling it good.
We have good precedent for such audacious behavior.
1All Bible references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB). Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.
2Snaith, Norman H. “A Theological Word Book of the Bible,” edited by Alan Richardson. New York: MacMillan, 1951. Pp. 136-7. Web. Retrieved March 23, 2014 http://www.bible-researcher.com/chesed.html
3 Lewis, C. S. The Weight of Glory. New York: HarperCollins, 2001.